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Why Your Mother Was Wrong About Confrontation

Remember when your mom used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all”? I do…I used to get it a lot! Here’s the thing that I don’t like about that saying…”Don’t say anything at all.”
There were always 1 of 2 things happening when my mother used to tell me that saying 1: I was being a legit ass and shooting off my mouth….or 2: I didn’t agree/like what was happening around me and I wanted to voice that concern.

Now for situation 1 I completely agree with my mom….I should have simply just shut-up. However, for situation 2 we can explore a little more. If you don’t agree with someone, or feel bullied, or you are not a fan of the what’s happening around you I think you should fully be able to say something.

I agree with my mother that you shouldn’t be spouting off some useless negative babble though…instead I want you to try a different method.

I Messages

We are used to lashing out and blaming “You” – You never listen to me; You never let me do what I want to do; You….You…..You….Get it?? You and I both know that we do this often, but there is another way!

I messages are simply messages that express your feeling or emotion around what’s happening. It’s a way to take responsibility for what is yours, what is your part in the miscommunication/conflict/situation. It has a fairly simple format as well: I feel ______ when you____ or When you ______ I feel____

So for example let’s take a co-worker that is always coming to your desk and pawning off work to you. Every time he does this you have three options; 1: You do the work and don’t say anything, 2: you use a “You” statement, 3: you use an I message. So what would a You statement look like here? Well…how about this….You always do this! Why don’t you do your own work for once? Can’t you see I’m busy? Now, in my experience…this would be a polite way to say it…but what about using an I message with this? (Name) when you give me your work to do I feel that you don’t realize that I also have a work load that I am responsible for.

Make sense?  Try it out this week…and leave me a comment on how it went! Not sure if this would work? Let me know in the comments below!

                        author

Jason Dykstra

Jason is a Conflict Management Specialist who is helping organizations and congregations move from conflict situations to creative solutions. He specializes in relational and communication issues and uses his experience and training in mediation, group facilitation, conflict management coaching, speaking and teaching to aid you and your surroundings to better… MORE >

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